Matt Hancock accused of misleading MPs over claims there was ‘never’ PPE

Mr Hancock’s remarks run contrary to emails sent to staff at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey and Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust in April 2020. They were first disclosed in a report by The Telegraph on April 12 2020, which revealed that NHS hospitals were resorting to making arrangements to fly in their own stocks from China amid a shortage of gowns.

An email from Martin Barkley, the chief executive of Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, on April 9 2020, stated: “The Trust currently has only a very limited supply of long-sleeved gowns remaining… What has become clear overnight is that this is not just a Mid Yorkshire issue. Most trusts across the region are in a similar position and, in fact, it has been confirmed that there is a national shortage of long-sleeved gowns.”

An “urgent message” to staff at Kingston Hospital on the same day stated: “There is currently a national shortage of gowns… We anticipate reaching the end of our supply of disposable gowns by Sunday… Kingston hospital is working with partners across London to source further supplies of gowns for the weeks ahead.”

Mr Roscrow said: “It was a combination of things, it was absolutely the lack of availability of product. There were [also] distribution issues, there were logistics problems for a whole variety of reasons.”

Mr Roscrow added that procurement officials were informed last year of national shortages “and they were also being told that where possible they needed to apply mutual aid. So [for example] one bit of Manchester could lend to another bit of Manchester. “

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We totally reject this accusation. The Government worked flat out to get the PPE needed for frontline staff amid global shortages, and the National Audit Office recognised all NHS providers they spoke to were able to get the equipment they needed in time.”

Read More:Matt Hancock accused of misleading MPs over claims there was ‘never’ PPE